The modern world is a hectic one. For many, the following scenario is all too familiar. Morning comes, and you groggily (sometimes reluctantly) awaken. If you eat breakfast at all, it frequently consists of a giant coffee and some sort of sugary bread. If you are a parent, you rush children off to school with a series of commands, conferring with your partner the agenda for the day ahead (who is picking up which child at what time for which afterschool activity); however, on most mornings, these “conversations” do not involve much real interaction. After a harrowing and lengthy commute, the stress continues. Saddled with a heap of tasks that could fill a week, you try in vain to empty your inbox by the end of the day. In reverse and even more drained, the commute is repeated and the second workday begins. You help your kids with their homework, scarf down some dinner (which on a “good day” was actually prepared in your home), truck the kids to and from their extracurricular activities and check your similarly looking agenda for the next day before falling into bed.
In my practice, I often work with people whose schedules are not unlike the scenario I have depicted. Although “on paper” they have a number of things to be happy about (gainful employment, families, nice homes, and the like), the question, “is this all that life has to offer?” underlies their discontent. My role becomes focused on assisting people in restoring some balance in their lives. This balance, from my perspective, consists of several interconnected elements:
- Knowing yourself and what is important to you
- Making choices consistent with your values
- Ensuring that you have time to recharge
- Having strong and invigorating relationships
- Having purpose and meaning
- Being self-aware, but not self-conscious, so that you can act rather than react
- Being able to communicate effectively
- Making sense of the past in order to live in the present
In future articles for this newsletter, I will outline a series of tools intended to illustrate how you can achieve better balance in your life. The Math Lesson outlines how to conduct a self-assessment, determine your values, figure out where unbalance may exist, and begin to direct energy towards what is important (or away from what is not). The Social Studies Lesson focuses on how a sense of isolation is a common by-product of the “rat race” described above, despite unprecedented opportunities to remain “connected” with others, and offers strategies to strengthen relationships. The Shop Lesson illustrates how you can develop and fortify your sense of fulfillment, purpose, and meaning. The Philosophy and Language Arts Lessons focus on communication – the internal and external dialogue that enables us to sustain the balance that we are working so hard to achieve. And finally, the History Lesson shows how you can learn to make sense of your past and leave it behind you, freeing you to live “in the now.”
In closing, I will leave you with some questions to consider in preparation for the Math Lesson that will open this series. What is important to you? What mark do you want to leave on the world? How do you want others to think of you? Are you on your own list of priorities? Who and what else is on this list? Now, consider how you spent your time. Look back on the past week and reflect upon where your energy was spent. Do the two lists converge or is there a discrepancy? In what areas did you invest too much or too little? What areas are not providing a proportionate return on your investment? What is the change you want to see? In what areas might you have less “choice” and have to accept that “it is what it is?”
With support, you can begin to generate answers to these questions and restore balance, perhaps even turning “what it is” into something you have always dreamed it could be. If you would like to book an appointment with me or any other member of Eckert Centre’s team to see where change is possible, contact Darlene at 403-230-2959 (ext. 33) or firstname.lastname@example.org.